Morning traffic

Our piebald visitor was back this morning.

She still has a tail full of burrs, after all this time! At least she doesn’t have them hanging off her chin anymore.

The deer quite appreciate the trails left behind by the snowmobilers.

On another note, we’ve spent that last few days working on the cat barrier so we can turn the living room into a plant room. There have been all sorts of problems! For starters, the opening between the divider shelves is wider at the top than the bottom. Which should have been okay. We built the frame smaller, and used self adhesive foam to fill in the gaps and hold the frame in place.

Well, between the crooked shelves and the wonky lumber, we still had problems, with the frame too tight at the top, and a huge gap on one side at the bottom.

Yes. I did correctly say that the space at the top was wider than the bottom, so it should have been the other way around.

Then the door was made to fit inside the frame and should have had a quarter inch space on all sides.

Once hanging the door on the frame, it became even harder to put the frame back in the space. When we finally got it in and opened the door, it would drop so much, it dragged on the floor…

…which also isn’t straight…

… and then we couldn’t get the door to close again. We ended up shaving about a quarter inch off one end of the door – the draw knife made quick work of that! It still wasn’t enough, though. Today, the girls are going to have to take the door partially apart, make it narrower, and hang it again. Which is going to be a bit job, because I was very, very through about attaching the wire mesh to the frame! The stronger staples we got seem to be doing the job, except I ended up having to hammer them all in more securely, after using the staple gun.

Later today, I’ll make the barrier for the shelf that’s open on both sides. After I’ve headed out to pick up a BBQ meat pack and run a few errands. Like stop at the post office to pick up the cat-proof screen for the window screens they’ve made holes in! I really hope this stuff is actually as good as it’s supposed to be.

The Re-Farmer

Not the only one!

Checking the trail cam files this morning, I discovered our piebald deer isn’t the only one that got attacked by burrs!

These had gone by just before I got to the camera, and I never saw them!

That one deer not only has a tail full of burrs, but more stuck on its face.

I also saw our piebald caught on the gate cam, but only going in, so I couldn’t see if her tail was still full of burrs.

In other things, I’m still hoping to get a call of approval about financing the vehicle, so when the phone started ringing this morning, I was quick to answer.

I should have known better, considering how early in the morning the first call came in.

It was one those recorded “I’m Dave from Amazon…” scam messages. It’s bad enough that they call so early in the frikkin’ morning, but we got the same call again! It was the exact same recording, but call display showed it was from a different number.


Meanwhile, I’m happy to say that we now have two more drum gourds germinating, both in the same pot. They’re not quite free of the soil, yet, so I haven’t tried to take picture, yet. The first two are looking nice and strong. We also had a new little pepper sprouting in the pot with the first one that sprouted. There’s still one cell with no sprouts at all, and still no sign of the zucca melon. They can take quite a long time to germinate, but with how cold the house is, even on the heat mate and under the lights, I think it’s still a bit chillier than they prefer. We shall see.

I’m not going to spend the rest of the day with the phone chained to my hip… 😂

The Re-Farmer

What happened to that tail?!

After yesterday’s gorgeous temperatures, doing my rounds this morning was feeling downright brutal. As I write this, we’re still at -22C/-8C, with a wind chill of -31C/-24F. I was more than happy to be back inside and checking the trail cam files.

Where I found this.

What on earth?

I tried zooming in on the full size image, but it’s just too grainy to tell. Normally, I’d say burrs, but find it strange that burrs would be all caught up just on her tail like that. I’d expect them to be more spread out. I suppose another possibility is her fecal matter somehow getting stuck, but that doesn’t seem right, either. They lift their tails well clear for that to be a possibility. Plus, some of the pieces look the wrong shape and size for that.

Very odd.

Whatever it is, I hope she’s able to get it off!

The Re-Farmer

Look who’s back!

I found this while checking the files on the gate cam. Such an elegant lady!

This is cropped out of a much larger still, so the date and time stamp is gone, but it was taken shortly after noon. So brazen! In the video clip, she was just bouncing up the driveway, like a thoroughbred.

I think this is the first time I could see that she has white patches just above her hooves, too.

While feeding the outside cats, someone else was back, though I couldn’t get a good photo of him. The Distinguished Guest was among the 25 cats I counted this morning. He is still looking in very rough shape, and the tip of one ear is flapping around. He still looks bedraggled and he’s moving slowly, but he’s not limping like he was the last time I saw him. I tried not to move too quickly and spook him, though he did still move away as I put the food out and refilled the water bowls. Mostly, he went from food tray to food tray, and even stayed under the water bowl shelter, eating, while I refilled the heated bowl. As I went around other paths, he started making his way up the path to the compost pile, then stopped part way, watching me. As I continued, I’d look over and he was a little bit closer… then a little bit closer… By the time I was done and tying off the sun room doors, he was almost back at the kibble house. What I was somewhat encouraged to see was Rolando Moon walking past him, and there was no altercation. It may be that he’s just too beat up to start a fight, but I’ll take what I can get.

I would feel much better if he were able to assimilate into the yard cats, and no longer be picking fights. Even better if Sad Face would stop fighting, too. I haven’t seen him in a few days, which is probably why TDG is back.

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

The Re-Farmer


Yesterday, I mentioned that I’d spooked our visiting piebald deer in the yard. I had been unable to get a picture, but it turns out, we got a decent shot of her making her way towards our place, on one of the trail cams.

That old trail cam takes some pretty decent pictures.

I’d left some roasted squash in the compost pile for her yesterday, and today there was no sign of them at all. I hope that means she got a nice meal out of it!

The Re-Farmer

Still visiting!

We’ve had a very quiet day at home today, catching up around the house and being very domestic.

Because of the racoons damaging things and eating everything up, we have not been putting out deer feed or bird seed this winter. I do still see tracks in the snow when I do my rounds, but not very many. We have, however, been getting one regular visitor.

This piebald deer has been visiting us every winter that we’ve lived here, making this the sixth winter of her visiting us! This video is from a few days ago, but yesterday, we spotted her in the yard, making her way to the compost pile. I’ve also been seeing deer tracks around the cat shelters, which tells me she – or some other deer – has been going for the kibble and water, too.

This morning, as I headed out, I heard a familiar huffing noise and looked up in time to see the piebald, half was up the path to the compost pile, leaping away.

We happened to have some roasted squash in the fridge. It was meant for something else and had no seasonings on it, but I decided to put it on the compost pile for our visitor to eat!

It’s getting that time of year when it’s harder for the wild critters to find food, so I’ve got no problem setting out some extra food for them, if we have it.

The Re-Farmer

Night time visitors

We had kittens in the sun room last night, so we left the doors tied partially open. When I had a chance, I joined them for a while, sitting on the swing bench with one kitten violently and playfully attacking one arm, while another was trying to figure out if my fingers were edible on the other. Out the window, I could see other kittens playing in the old kitchen garden.

It’s a very good thing the fall spinach beds are covered with the hoops and mesh!

Then I spotted a large shadow moving at the far end. A raccoon?

I headed out to check. The noise of me moving about sent the raccoon climbing up one of the ornamental apple trees. It was completely dark, but I tried to get some photot, anyhow.

Just look at that big, furry butt!

What I didn’t notice until I was cropping the photo to post here, was the second raccoon in the tree!

Then, while checking the trail cam files, I saw we had a visitor of a very different sort passing by.

This coyote got picked up by the other camera, too. It was just sauntering down the road!

It was a spur of the moment decision to move the original old camera onto this tree and keep it going. It went haywire quite some time ago. I am amazed that it’s working at all. I had even tried setting it to stills instead of video, and it still didn’t work. One of the things it would do was get triggered to start recording, but not shut off. I’d come out the next morning to find the batteries dead, and nothing on the memory card. Now, I still sometimes get an error message when switching the cards – I just have to take it out and put it back in until it starts working. I think that has more to do with the connections on the cards wearing out than the camera, though.

I’m glad it’s working again. Not just so that I can have the old camera on the new camera, in case this one gets stolen, too. It picks up interesting things, like this coyote – and we have a few images of a mouse running across the top barbed wire! 😁

Very handy, and fun, too.

The Re-Farmer

Morning progress, and a critter visitor

So, yesterday ended up being quite a bit of a write off for me.

After I finished posting yesterday, I was going to sterilize some jars and make pickles. I was falling asleep at the computer, however, so I decided to take a short nap, first.

I woke up more than 3 hours later, wasting most of my day.

I did get some work done outside, while it was still light enough. This included raking up the nicely dried grass clippings from a few days ago. I was able to finish mulching the popcorn, and start mulching on either side of the sweet corn. The mulch is as much for next year, as it is to help the plants growing now. I was able to give the berry bushes a thorough watering, as well as the nearby trellises, but not much more than that. By the time I went inside, not only was I still frustrated by how far behind I am getting, but was getting a headache and actually felt ready to go back to bed!

So my daughters, sweethearts that they are, headed out at first light to do a few things before heading to bed for the day. Among other things, the Korean Pine got a deep watering. They also got a first coat of paint on the bed frame that my brother left for us when we moved in here.

It was actually built by one of my nephews. It came in very handy as a platform for hardening off our seedlings. I kept it covered with a tarp, but it’s been outside ever since, and I don’t want it to get water damaged. After it’s been painted, it’s going to go back into the basement, where it will be used as a platform for litter boxes, so if the basement ever does get wet like it did this spring again, the cats won’t be stuck using litter boxes in the middle of a damp concrete floor! We’ll put something under the legs to raise it off the floor slightly, to protect the legs from damp beyond what the paint will do.

One of my daughters sent me a picture of something they found when they first came out of the sun room.

Our province has 4 types of snakes.

This isn’t any of them.

Normally, the only snakes we ever see are garter snakes. There are two types that live here, but we tend to see only the red sided garter snake. The other two types look completely different, and I’ve never seen them before. As a child, however, I have seen a brown snake like this, a couple of times. Once, it got into the house and my poor mother flipped right out. They were both very tiny and slender. This one looks absolutely beefy in comparison. It kind of looks like the Red Bellied snake native to another province, except there’s no sign of a red belly that can be seen in the picture.

We like snakes. They eat slugs and other garden pests, so we try to protect them as much as possible. I’ve seen all of 2 garter snakes this year, and they were crossing the road both times. I suspect our horrible did a number of their population. In September, they start going back to their dens for the winter, so I hope we will see more of them.

I harvested from the garden yesterday, but today I grabbed some of the ripest tomatoes.

The under ripe ones we picked before are fully ripe now. There isn’t enough of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes to make yet, though. They will be cooked down to about a quarter of their volume, and with what we have so far, I’d end up with maybe 2 or 3 of my little half-pint jars full.

So I went over all the Cup of Moldova tomatoes we have so far, and put the good ones in the freezer. I’ll keep adding more to the bin they’re in until it’s almost full, and then I’ll have enough to work on making tomato paste and canning it.

It seems like we were growing SO many tomatoes this year, and yet I’m realizing that we actually aren’t growing that much at all! At least not for what we want to use them for. Mind you, the chocolate cherry tomatoes aren’t even ready yet, and the yellow pear tomatoes are still just starting to ripen, but when it comes to canning and preserving enough to supply us until the next harvest, we could easily double how many we plant.

Next year, we’ll be shooting for an even bigger garden! 😄 The good thing is, we do have the luxury of space, even if we do have to do massive reclamation to use it.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

I was wrong

It wasn’t skunks.

In the wee hours of the morning, I went in the bathroom and must have made a startling noise. Outside the window, I heard some scrambling, and the sound of a bin hitting the floor.

I found these guys.

There are three of them. They stayed frozen like this while I did some clean up. The bin did not spill, thankfully, and is now stored in the old kitchen.

I picked up just enough to make a clear path to the door. While I was working, one squeezed its way up to the next shelf and hid behind some stuff. The other two eventually pushed behind the bird seed bin to the corner by the window, and froze there.

I left the doors wide open and the lights on after I cleaned up as much as I needed to – with kittens under foot the whole time! The kittens and raccoons don’t seem to have any issues with each other. Hopefully, it will stay that way, and raccoons sometimes kill cats.

Considering how we have the doors rigged, I’m amazed that these big buggers managed to squeeze through. They’re set up so that, while a critter is pushing through the gap in one door, the other door gets pulled more closed. The gap is just big enough for a kitten. An adult cat would have to squeeze through.

A big, roly poly trash panda would have more problems getting in, to be sure, but get in they did!

They made no effort to get at the sunflower seeds in the other bin, though we do see them eating them where we put them for the birds. Hopefully, with the kibble bin no longer in the sun room, they will have no reason to come back.

The Re-Farmer

That’s just deep, Man!

Well, relatively speaking.

Still, the snow is deep enough that the deer were struggling to get through. They were very happy to find the paths we’ve dug!

I spotted about 11 outside cats this morning. Potato Beetle came out of the sun room when I went out to make sure the deer coming into the yard weren’t going for the kibble. He happily went back in when I finished my morning rounds.

After feeding the critters, I started to do a bit of shoveling on the main paths. While clearing in front of the sun room, I accidentally caught the shovel on something, making a loud noise, startling the cats in the kibble house. There was an explosion of cats as they all ran off.

Except Ghost Baby, who took advantage of the situation, planted herself in a kibble tray and kept on eating!

That is so completely the opposite of how she has been in the past. Before, if you so much as looked directly at her, she’d ghost away. I think she’s finally learning that it’s safe to eat while we’re around.

One of the potential plans for the day was to take little Spewie out and start clearing the driveway. I’m not so sure if that’s happen, though. It’s going to be another chilly day, but it’s more an issue of wind. Things are supposed to be calmer tomorrow, but also warmer, which means the snow blower is more likely to struggle with the snow. *sigh* Still, it needs to get done.

I’ve heard from my brother that my nephew and his family are still making the drive out. The highways are open all along their route, so they’re going for it. I do wish they’d just cancelled. He is confident in making the drive, though. They should arrive late tonight. I figure, if they are willing to make the trip, the least we can do is clear our driveway so that I can drive my mother out to meet her newest great-grandbaby!

Whether the snow blowing happens today or tomorrow, when that’s not being worked on, we’ll be going through the seedlings. Some of them, like the Crespo squash and the second planting of Wonderberry, are outgrowing their starter pots. I picked up larger versions of the pots that can be just buried in the ground when it’s time to transplant, so we’ll be able to pot them up with little to no root disturbance. We might have some space issues, not just for the bigger pots, but their heights. Looking at the long and short range forecasts, though, we should be able to start putting more pots in the sun room. How well the one Wonderberry plant is doing is quite encouraging. It makes me wonder if the thermometer on the wall is reading on the cold side. It’s right against the wall, and one of the window’s it is above lost its inner pane before we ever moved here, so it might be reading temperatures that don’t reflect other parts of the room.

Oh, I totally forgot to take a picture! I’ll have to go back later. The Wonderberry in the sun room has actually started to bloom! With the sun room being so much cooler than inside the mini-greenhouse, I’d thought it would slow down in growth, but it seems to be quite enjoying the condition in the sun room, and thriving!

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not, for a Wonderberry to be blooming already. We won’t be able to transplant it outside for at least another month! There are no pollinators for it. Which means I should probably prune the flower buds off, so its growth can focus on foliage.

Not until I’ve taken a picture of the pretty white flowers. 🙂

The Re-Farmer